Getting Real about COVID in Halton

By: Laura Steiner
The Region’s Mayors are in an impossible position.  They need to balance hundreds of small business owners livelihoods, and the health of thousands’ of residents.  It’s reasonable to fight against further attempts to lockdown.  The statement arguing Halton should stay in the red zone is unrealistic. The regional lockdowns designed to balance those two things, and provide people a sense of normalcy, aren’t working.  On the surface, Halton’s case numbers aren’t as bad as some areas.  They don’t regularly hit the triple digits like they do in Peel for example, but they’re getting close. The last three days have been 76 (Thursday), 58 (Friday), and 89 (Saturday), and 87 (Sunday)
Milton has 11 outbreaks.  4 in institutions (three in retirement homes and one at Milton District Hospital), one school (Bruce Trail), one Congregate living setting.   Five workplaces, with a total 101 cases, 74 of which appear to be designated as ‘Non-Halton’ cases.  And that bolsters part of the Mayors’ case as well, that the majority of cases are coming from outside the region. There’s an effective reproduction number at 1.1.  This figure refers to the spread of the virus, and should be kept under one to slow the infection rate.
It means every person who tests positive infects at least one more.  In the case of the workplace outbreaks, the 101 cases could potentially become 202, and then 304, and so on.  It’s easy to see where this could get out of hand. There are also hospital occupancy numbers.  As of Friday the acute care bed occupancy is at 91% and the ICU bed capacity at 95%.  The region considers below 90% to be a “safe” zone.  Anything much higher than that puts a strain on the system, and would mean changes to their services.  The hospitals have been asked to implement their emergency plans, and new modelling data is due out later today.  The numbers are trending the wrong way to stay in the red zone.
It’s a nice fantasy to think that Halton escapes lockdown because of low case numbers.  However, it’s now time for leaders to get real and focus on implementing the programs that help everyone get through this.  Escaping lockdown isn’t going to happen.